100 Magic Moments of the Turf, by Graeme Roe

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The Independent Culture

Having written a quartet of well-regarded racing thrillers, Graeme Roe has swapped fiction for fact with this collection of reminiscences from a high-class field of folk talking about their days to remember.

Some of the choices are obvious – Frankie Dettori on breaking his Group One duck with two in a row, John Buckingham reliving his 1967 Grand National triumph on the 100-1 shot Foinavon – while others seem more nightmarish than magic, as Ladbrokes' head PR honcho Mike Dillon recalls the breakfast that cost his firm £64,000, and bookie Barry Dennis remembers fearing he would lose his house after Dettori's Ascot seven-timer.

Roe also includes tales from many of racing's backroom staff – stable lads, bloodstock agents, starters, farriers and the like – which helps to provide a rounded view of the sport, if one somewhat weighted towards the jumps game.

As Roe both rode and trained under NH rules, this is hardly a surprise, but gets no criticism from this quarter; those waiting eagerly for Cheltenham next month will find much to enjoy here.

Published in large-format hardback by Green Umbrella, £20